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Playoff pictures start developing for final stretch

October 23, 2007|By MARK KELLER

The playoff pictures in high school football are starting to come together as the end of the regular season approaches.

In Maryland, Smithsburg (7-0) is third in the Class 1A West standings behind Fort Hill (7-0) and Allegany (7-0). Mountain Ridge (5-2) is fourth, followed closely by Boonsboro (5-2).

Smithsburg could host a first-round playoff game if it wins its last three games, since Fort Hill or Allegany cannot both finish unbeaten - they face each other in their season finale Nov. 10.

The Leopards could earn the top seed in 1A West if they finish 10-0 and both Allegany and Fort Hill finish with one loss, which is not out of the realm of possibility. Allegany plays Berkeley Springs this week and Fort Hill plays Mountain Ridge next week.

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Boonsboro needs Mountain Ridge to lose at least once to pass the Miners in the point standings. Fort Hill appears to be the only remaining opponent able to beat the Miners, so the Warriors will be pulling for the Sentinels next week.

In addition to a Mountain Ridge loss, the Warriors must win at least two of their last three to have a shot at qualifying. Three Boonsboro wins - which would include a victory over Smithsburg - and the Mountain Ridge loss gets the Warriors in for sure. Two wins - not including a victory over Smithsburg - and one Mountain Ridge loss will bring the race for the final 1A West berth down to bonus points. And it will be a close race.

In 2A West, it's hard to believe a team that started 0-5 would have any chance of making the postseason. And North Hagerstown (2-5) faces unbelievably long odds in order to get in. The Hubs, now eighth in the region after winning its last two games, need to win their final three games and have the next four teams ahead of them each lose at least twice.

That's asking for a lot, but if you had told the Hubs two weeks ago they were still in the playoff chase, they might not have believed it.

In West Virginia, Berkeley Springs (7-1) will move up to fourth in the Class AA ratings today and clinch a playoff berth following its win over Mountain Ridge. The Indians close with games against Allegany and Hancock.

A Berkeley Springs victory over Allegany would net big points and a 9-1 finish could earn the Indians one of the top two seeds. Eight wins would guarantee the Indians at least one home playoff game.

In Class AAA, Martinsburg (6-2) will move up to No. 11 this week. It's questionable whether 8-2 will be good enough for the Bulldogs to get into the top eight, assuring them a home playoff game. They're a lock for the postseason with one more victory.

If the Bulldogs get back the two wins they forfeited this season and win out, they'll likely be one of the top two seeds.

In Pennsylvania, Greencastle-Antrim (7-1) is the only team with a shot at the postseason, and the Blue Devils' chances look pretty good. The top 16 teams in District 3-AAA advance the Blue Devils figure to be in that mix.

In the polls

The only change in this week's Herald-Mail Super 7 comes at the bottom of the poll, as Waynesboro (Jefferson) replaces Williamsport at No. 7.

Martinsburg regains its unanimous hold on No. 1, followed by unbeaten Smithsburg, Greencastle, Berkeley Springs, Boonsboro and Mercersburg Academy for the second straight week.

On the schedule

Thirteen games are ready to roll Friday, including Brunswick at North Hagerstown; South Hagerstown at Middletown; Clear Spring at Boonsboro; Catoctin at Smithsburg; Williamsport at Liberty; St. James at Hancock; Central Dauphin East at Chambersburg; Waynesboro at Camp Hill; Trinity at James Buchanan; Jefferson at Greencastle; Martinsburg at Musselman; Hampshire at Hedgesville; and Berkeley Springs at Allegany.

Saturday's lone game features Peddie School at Mercersburg Academy.

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